Sunday, October 17

Beef and Boards: White Christmas

Haynes sisters Betty (Christnie Mild) and Judy (Erin West)
Do NOT bother going to see White Christmas, the Musical, playing at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre, Indianapolis. Stay far, far away from this show...unless you feel a need to sit through two and one half hours of seriously old-fashioned, feel-good nostalgia, great singing and fantastic dance numbers, that is.

Based on the 1954 movie, starring Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Danny Kaye and Vera-Ellen, this musical, once again, finds B&B breaking the seasonal rule, bringing the holiday a little early.

But, you can't argue with success. With a packed theater for WC's opening weekend, and the sold-out shows of Smoke on the Mountain: A Sanders Family Christmas two summers ago, owner Doug E. Stark (General Waverly) apparently knows the audience doesn't look at the calendar when deciding where to spend their money and evenings.
Timothy Ford and Curt Dale Clark

From the first note, Bob Wallace (Curt Dale Clark) and Phil Davis (Timothy Ford) draw you into the seasonal mood with their warmth and sincerity wrapping around you like a knitted afghan.

Clark portrays Wallace in a thoroughly likable manner, giving the romantically reluctant crooner the necessary laid-back touch. His strong voice blends well with the other singers, including in Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep, with Christine Mild as Betty Haynes.

Mild's Love You Didn't Do Right By Me
Mild, last seen portraying the title role in the B&B hit show, Always, Patsy Cline, claims the audience's attention best with Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me and Sisters, paired with Judy, portrayed charmingly by Erin West.
Standing out most to this critic were the aptly chosen performers for every role, including the supporting cast, most notably, Kenny Shepard, Deb Wims and the ever-animated John Vessels.

John Vessels
Dave Ruark
In case you've been suffering from John-Vessels-withdrawals, not to worry. Fans of Vessels' portrayal of the good Reverend Oglethorpe in the Smoke on the Mountain saga will be delighted to find him in this show, stealing scenes and
 depicting deadpan characters, including Ezekiel, the handyman and Snoring Man.

Keep your eye on Dave Ruark, portraying Sheldrake. I enjoyed Ruark in April at The Cabaret at The Columbia Club supporting the talent of Lauren Cregor. Ruark is one of those entertainers whose talents are only discovered one layer at a time. His creative abilities range from singing to being one of the original performers of ComedySportz. 

Special note: The second act's high-energy dance act places West and Ford all over the stage including on top of a baby grand.

Bottom Line: Beef and Boards' family friendly White Christmas brings a warm cup of holiday cheer to your heart.

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer and theater critic. Catch her as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC and follow her on Twitter @ejmusgrave1 and FaceBook.
Photo credit: www.juliecurryphotography.com
Comments can be sent to elizabeth@gottago.us. Gotta Go is published in the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, West Side Community News, New Palestine Reporter, West Indianapolis Community News, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

In my six years of attending B&B productions, this is the best musical I have seen at B&B. It is entertainment from the first to last note. The vocal talent packaged in this group is exceptional. Would enjoy seeing more with this mix of performers.

Anonymous said...

In my six years of attending B&B productions, this is the best musical I have seen at B&B. It is entertainment from the first to last note. The vocal talent packaged in this group is exceptional. Would enjoy seeing more with this mix of performers.

Elizabeth J. Musgrave said...

@Anonymous-If you've been attending B&B performances for six years, you've seen several great shows. I agree that this one showcases the cast's talents individually and collectively. My only wish would have been John Vessels having a larger part, he is one of my Destination Actors.

Anonymous said...

Anything with John Vessels is worth a look. He's is adorable!!!
Would like to see him get a big break and go to the "BIG" city..
if he wants to go. Sure would miss him...:)